Monday, February 16, 2009

Hispanic students represent under 2% of public higher education population in Tennessee, but trend points up

Small percentage of Hispanic students is on the rise

Schools see growth opportunity

The Tennessean reports here on the educational fair Volunteer State Community College hosted earlier this month, which was announced by the Hispanic Nashville Notebook here.

The report points out that "Hispanics make up less than 3 percent of the 7,200 students at Vol State."

Among the entire population of public colleges and universities statewide, the statistic appears to be just under 2 percent, according to a chart accompanying the story (reproduced above).

Both public and private universities in Tennessee are trying to attract Hispanic college students, according to this 2007 story in the Hispanic Nashville Notebook, which described the Hispanic recruitment efforts of Tennessee State University, Belmont University, UT-Knoxville, and Austin Peay.

This month's story touts Vol State's efforts:
"The college is very Hispanic-friendly," said Cristina Frasier, president of the Sumner Hispanic Alliance, which Vol State created in 2006. The group consists of about 25 business owners and community leaders and has partnered with the school on an annual cultural celebration and other events.

It hopes to begin a scholarship program this year, Frasier said.
In the 2007 story, Hispanic enrollment at Vanderbilt University was reported at 5.7%, with the number being 4.7% at Austin Peay, 1.7% at UT-Knoxvile, and 1% at Tennessee State University. As for the overall number of Hispanic students in higher education in 2007, the story at the time was that "Hispanic college students in Tennessee consistently number fewer than their African-American classmates — and often Asian students, as well."

While the lower representation of Hispanics as compared to African-Americans and Asians is still the case in 2009 - the pie chart above shows 38,580 African-American students and 9,373 Asian/Alaskan/American Indian and other students, compared to only 4,076 Hispanic students - Hispanic students in higher education are "one of the state's fastest-growing student populations," according to this month's story. The Tennessean's charts above indicate that Hispanic student representation at public institutions of higher education in this state has grown faster than the growth rate for white and black students, but at a slower pace than the combined category for other groups including Asian/Pacific and American Indian/Alaskan Native students.

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